The site’s new “unflattering Mark portrait” header, and what you can do about it…

All things considered, the reaction to the new site has been surprisingly good. So far, the only criticisms that I’ve heard have been about the design of the header. Someone calling himself Poison Control made fun of the fact that the background was “band-aide” color, but, other that that, most of the criticism had to do with image choice. It seems as though quite a few of you would rather not be confronted every day by the sore-covered portrait of me done by Reverend Aitor.

Some, like Gene from Ann Arbor, would rather that I play upon my rugged good looks, and serve up a steamy slice of beefcake. Here’s what he had to say:

Your pic in the header is sort of disturbing, can it at least rotate? You need to embrace your hotness and go for a bit of glamour over ghoul… just a bit.

[Sadly, I just went to the Glamour Shots website and there’s not a location within a 200 mile radius of Ypsilanti, but there is someone in Ann Arbor who says they do tasteful boudoir photography… Shall we take up a collection?]

Meanwhile, some readers, like Round O. F., while not really liking the image, seem to think that there might be some deeper meaning in it. Here’s his comment:

I understand that a lot of people have a hard time stomaching the new “look” of this site. But I think it’s honest and courageous!

Sure, it’s easy for us to read Mark’s wise and eloquent words, that seem to spring from a limitless void of energy and intellectual acumen, and fancifully imagine what his prowess might look like nude. But, as his new banner reminds us as we check in daily, in the rare moments when wisdom couples with passion and longevity, it does take, as payment, its pound of flesh.

Look at the banner. Look long, look hard. And thank the heavens for the sacrificial gift.

I feel the need to add, that my comment may appear to be flip and glib vituperation, but its truly unfeigned.

From time to time, I think it’s worthwhile for us readers to pause and appreciate what Mark provides, to friend and foe alike, and realize that not only are most of us not doing anything like it, but precious few, anywhere, are doing anything like it.

I hesitate to commend Mark’s work on this site because a) I don’t want him to feel compelled to continue. His health and sanity is worth at least as much as any of ours. b) there’s a “b” but mentioning it would defeat it.

For those of us who come here to combat, I think it’s worth being appreciative of what Mark’s doing, and maybe saying so from time to time. For those of us who come here to feel comforted, the same. For those who come here to dump useless shit you haven’t even read or understood, fine, just realize you’re a sad little parasites. I know we all “use” this site differently. But we’re all, actually, using Mark, a person, a husband and father, a passionate patriot (cue horns), and so on…

I think I might get what this was about.

All I meant to say was “thanks Mark.” You suck like quarter sized hail.

Still others seem to think that it’s all part of my plan to come across as more beautiful in person. The following comes from Dan:

The hideous new Mark logo is only there so that when people meet Mark in person they are pleasantly surprised. It’s brilliant.

And, quite a few are calling for alternatives to be explored. The following comes from a reader calling herself OnaMuppet:

You know those graphically talented readers you mention sometimes? I would be very grateful if someone could fill in the gaps between the many variations of Mark in the graphics on this site. There seems to be a lot of missing links between the bearded baby Marks and the wearing Garrison Keillor’s skin Mark that presently welcomes readers.

For long time readers, the literary transformation is evident. I just feel like the graphics missed some crucial steps in the evolution.

So, leaving aside for the moment why I thought that it was a good idea to use this image of myself in the first place, I’d like to ask for your help. If you feel as though you might have an idea for a new header design, please either leave a comment, or, better yet, try to flesh it out yourself and send it in to me. I can’t promise that I’ll use everything, but I’ll certainly consider whatever is submitted. And, just to make things fun, let’s put $10 in beer up as a prize for the best header submitted by the end of July.

So, what do you say? Have you got an idea? If so, let me know… And it doesn’t have to be fully fleshed out as a header either. If all you have is a drawing of me curled up in the fetal position, crying, or a photo of a handsome male model made up to look like me, staring thoughtfully into a computer screen, send it in and I’ll do my best, working with our in-house design team, to get it into a suitable format.

Good luck.

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  1. Edward
    Posted July 5, 2011 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    What about a photo of you dressed as a Redcoat, riding a Segway?

  2. Mr. X
    Posted July 5, 2011 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    If the technology exists, I’d like to see an animated taint running across the header, chased by an anthropomorphic goatse (which could be on a Segway).

  3. Eel
    Posted July 5, 2011 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Simple. Elegant. A Bic disposable razor on a tiled surface, surrounded by pubic hairs.

  4. Ted
    Posted July 5, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Can I borrow your puppet for a photo shoot at The Hot Spot?

  5. Elf
    Posted July 5, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    How about something like this?

    And I would keep the same navigation.

  6. Gene
    Posted July 5, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    even just “touching up” the existing pic makes a huge difference, i took out some of the boils and it’s not nearly as dreary.

    I vote for illustrations. Have Clementine do a portrait of you and have that be the start. Photos are fun, but i think it makes sense to keep the header hand-drawn.

  7. Gene
    Posted July 5, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    also, if there are any font geeks out there – it’s interesting to me that the “” is so flouncy – at the very least, it does provide huge contrast next to the Rev Aitor portrait – it’s like the invitation to the Royal Wedding bumped into a bum off the street.

  8. Posted July 5, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the portrait would seem more alive as a GIF: winking and pursing your lips, for example.

  9. Jason Drak
    Posted July 5, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    I think you should be wearing a suit made from American flags and waving a Bible in one hand, and a gun in the other.

  10. Dirtgrain
    Posted July 5, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Yah, I’m not too keen on the overly curly font for the title (although it makes for a nice contrast with ball shaving), and I felt dissonance in all the fonts (title, subtitle, links at top of page, body of text (same as links?), and ads). It might be my browser (Firefox), but the body text seems hard to read, as if it has been blurred (my eyes, likely). Still, I’ve already forgotten the old format, and this one is starting to become familiar to me.

  11. Christine M
    Posted July 5, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    I am against you changing it. I love your unflattering portrait but I think mine is uglier. so HA HA I’m uglier than you are…nananana boo boo

  12. Poison Control
    Posted July 5, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    For the record, my comment was left on the booger post. I was referring to the color you seemed, by the photo of arm and roller, to be painting your child’s bedroom.

    I, for one, think the pale pink fleshy tones, however, work quite well in harmony with your blog.

  13. Posted July 5, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, Mr. Control. I thought that you were talking about the color of the header, which happens to be quite close to the color used in that other image. If you want, I can publish a formal apology.

    And I love the headers ideas so far. Keep ’em coming.

  14. Ale Roka
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    I would like an image of Puppet Mark, riding down a log flume of pig’s blood, into the Huron River, where a swarm of teethy nutria await.

    I think it would encapsulate all that is great about this blog. And it would subtly encourage readers to fry bacon.

    Do I have to submit this using the comment function to claim my beer prize?

  15. Raguel Henkey
    Posted July 10, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I would like to submit something, but I have no talent for such things. Maybe I could make a pizza in the shape of your head or something, though. Would you like pepperoni for eyes?

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] piece on the current state of rail funding in the state. I’d also like to have more contests, like the one we’ve got going on now for new header designs. (People, it would seem, don’t like the unflattering Mark image presently at the top of the […]

  2. By Stop and smell the Maynard on August 30, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    […] be greeted each day by my bloated, stinking, boil-covered face. Well, with that in mind, I offered $10 in beer to the individual who could produce something better. That was about two months ago now, though, and, so far, the entries have been pretty much […]

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